Every homeowner looking to buy a generator has this question. And you might have the same query which brought you here. Well, to answer your query, the generator size depends on multiple factors rather than just the size of your house.
So, if you have three, four, or even ten bedrooms, the things that you need to consider to power your entire house are how many watts you need, what type of household appliances you wish to run, and how frequent you experience a power outage. So, keep reading this article to get the right size generator for your home.
How to Calculate the Total Watt You Need to Power
One common misconception many people have about generators is that a bigger size means it is a powerful generator. However, the physical size of a generator has little connection with its power supply.
The amount of electricity supply defines the size of a generator. A generator’s power output is measured in watts. Generally, generators ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 watts are suitable for homes during power outages.
But before you buy one, you should have a clear idea about the total watts you wish to power. So, these steps will help you find out the correct wattage needs you have based on the electrical equipment you want to run with a generator.
List and Calculate the Wattage of the Appliance
To find the right size generator, the first thing you have to do is make a list of all the equipment you need to use during load shedding. Along with the size of your home, you should consider all the electrical equipment and make a list.
Keep in mind; you must add every single piece of small and big equipment in your home if you want to run them using an inverter.
Now that you have the names of all the appliances, the next step is to calculate the required wattage of each machine. You can find the wattage on labels that come with the appliance.
Once you have jotted down all the wattage, you have to add them up. And the number you get will give the estimated watts needed to run your selected appliances.
List the Starting and Running Watts
A crucial step to remember while you calculate the total watts is that running wattage and starting wattage tend to differ for most devices. Now, you might be wondering, what is starting wattage?
It is the amount of electricity a device needs for a few seconds to start up. The running watts of electronic devices are significantly lower than the surge/starting watts; hence, you should consider it.
If you want to use your refrigerator, washing machine, air conditioner, garage door opener, well, or sump pump, you should definitely make a list of the surge watts to be on the safe side. Or else you might risk your generator into providing more power than it can handle.
Note that calculating watts by hand may not always give accurate results, and it can be a tedious job. Therefore, if you don’t have much free time and want to avoid mistakes, you can use a sizing calculator or other online means of counting your total energy needs.
Moreover, apart from a sizing calculator, you can also take help from professional electricians to determine the exact number of watts of your devices.
What Size Generator Should You Get Based on Amps
To help you with your watt calculation, we will talk about some of the most common appliances powered by a portable generator and their amps. However, we will give you an average estimate of these devices; if you want to know the exact amps of your appliances, it is recommended to carry out proper research.
Let’s start with the air conditioner; an ac requires 10 to 15 amps to operate. So, you will need a 16,000 watts generator for air conditioning your whole house for a three-bedroom home. A dishwasher can run on 3 to 4 amps, and a refrigerator requires more than 20 amps to run.
So, now you know the amps of some of your important day-to-day appliances. But how can you find the total load to know what is the right generator? Well, the following formula will give you the sum of the load based on your machines: Appliance Total Load/(2 x Amps) = Generator Size Needed.
So, if you want to power sensitive electronics in a three-bedroom home, you may need a generator that can supply more than 18k watts.
Types of Generators to Consider Based on Your Area
If your area experiences frequent power cuts, you should consider getting large or standby home gas generators because these types of generators can supply enough power to last you long throughout the power outage. In addition, most of the gas generators can run using natural gas.
Moreover, you can directly connect it to the circuit breaker unit of your home. A standby generator features a transfer switch that gives you uninterrupted electrical output. You can effortlessly run your space heater, refrigerator, well pump, window ac, and other hefty machines.
This large inverter comes with a spacious gas tank that can take a full load of your home and big appliances at the same time.
However, if your area experiences power outages occasionally, you can buy portable generators. Instead of buying large-sized generators, you can reduce the extra cost with these portable machines.
These can handle the extra wattage you need to run when lights go down. With these portable machines, you can run appliances like a fridge, washing machine, and AC.
But, a portable generator does not come with a transfer switch system. Hence, if you want an uninterrupted power supply, you have to install a transfer switch, but it might cost you a bit more than usual.
On the contrary, if you rarely face load shedding but still want to have a backup in case of emergencies, you can go for a midsized generator that can easily power small appliances like a coffee maker or TV.
Moreover, you can also add more wattage if you need. These midsized devices come with ample energy to run a fridge, AC, and more.
Still confused and wondering, what size generator do I need for a 3 bedroom house? Now that you know how to determine your total wattage and calculate what size you need, you aren’t!
Hopefully, this article will enlighten you on everything you need to know about buying a generator.